Kaori Matsumoto's form will be scrutinised as the reigning Olympic and world champion competes for the first time in 2016 at the International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Prix in Düsseldorf.
The Japanese star had a mixed end to last year in the women’s under 57 kilogram division.
Her World Championship triumph in Astana was followed by second round exit at the Tokyo Grand Slam.
Matsumoto will be aiming to bounce back tomorrow on the opening day of the Grand Prix event, scheduled to last until Sunday (February 21), as she steps up her preparations for this year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Georgia’s Beka Gviniashivili will have Rio 2016 ambitions firmly on his mind in the German city as he looks to earn a berth in the under 100kg division.
The 22-year-old has been forced to move into the higher weight division as his team-mate and three-time World Championship medallist Varlam Liparteliani has defeated him on three occasions at the under 90kg weight within the past year to appear poised to gain his country’s Olympic spot.
Gviniashivili would currently not qualify for Rio 2016 due to his world ranking of 77, with success in the upcoming events now vital for his chances of appearing at the Games.
A total of 572 judoka from 89 countries are scheduled to compete across the three days of action, with South Korea expected to be one of the strongest nations.
Having finished top of the Paris Grand Slam with three gold and four bronze medals they will be hoping their 20-strong team can deliver further success.
Under 57kg judoka Kim Jan-Di will head into the competition as one of their big hopes having carried over her form from the end of 2015, when she won two Grand Prix and the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam titles, by winning in Paris.
South Korea’s under 70kg judoka Kim Seongyeon and under 73 competitor An Changrim were also victorious in Paris and will be hopeful of repeating the feat this weekend.
Hosts Germany have the largest contingent with a total of 51 judokas representing them, with 26 men and 25 women making up their team.
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